An interesting aesthetic can go a long way to make a good game memorable. Super Paper Pool is a solid physics puzzler with a Japanese woodblock-inspired art theme. The result is a game that looks as great as it plays, but this game isn’t a simple time waster.
Taking its inspiration from billiards, Super Paper Pool focuses on using physics mechanics to send game pieces into the appropriate spots on the game board. Like billiards, you have a pool cue and a cue ball, which you use to line up the best shot by determining angle and strength of the shot. Using the game’s simple touch controls, you can move the cue for the best shot. The game projects where the cue will go, but you will need to imagine where each piece will roll or bounce.
Unlike billiards, the level and the game pieces are not be of a standard shape. Some levels are simple squares or rectangles, while others feature difficult angles. The pieces themselves, although resembling solid and striped pool balls, are simple or complex shapes. Each game piece has a designated spot on the level it needs to reach, which is also similarly-shaped. All of this can influence your shot. Some levels also feature “scratch” areas that destroy the game piece, costing you a shot and requiring you to start over.
Each puzzle has a par that you should strive to shoot below. You want as low a score as possible, which may be easier said than done. The game starts by teaching you the ropes and the essential techniques, but don’t expect the puzzles to stay at a comfortable difficulty for long. The awkward angles, multiple game pieces, and the scratch zones can all be combined to create some frustrating mind-twisters.
The levels are organized into sets, and you need to achieve high scores in order to unlock the next set of puzzles. To keep the screen from looking boring, the game’s graphic design subtly keeps you interested. On some levels, you might be playing against a field of shooting stars, while others might be against a mountain range. The game’s aesthetic theme is consistent and lends a distinctive look to Super Paper Pool.
The game also has great, instinctive controls for moving and manipulating the level. It’s easy to make it so you can see what you need to. The game unfortunately does not feature any controls for zooming in or out to see larger levels on a small iPhone screen.
While Super Paper Pool’s style of gameplay isn’t exactly unique, the puzzles are solid and challenging. You’ll need to master the physics here if you want to complete the entire game, but I really appreciate the game’s emphasis on design and graphics. Design alone doesn’t make a game good, but it can make a solid game even better.